Summer heat amplifies disease risk during travel

KUWAIT: As Kuwait sees an uptick of travel with the summer season in full force, a doctor is urging travelers to follow recommended food safety guidelines to avoid catching a food-borne illness while abroad.

Consultant of internal medicine and infectious diseases at Al-Adan Hospital Dr Ghanim Al-Juhailan said high temperatures facilitate the growth of harmful bacteria that could lead to food poisoning if contaminated food is ingested. He said symptoms of food poisoning show almost immediately after consuming contaminated food.

He advised people to avoid leaving food at room temperature for long periods of time, double check the expiry dates of canned food and ensure the food preparation and storage areas are always clean.

Summer diseases

Dr Ghanim Al-Juhailan

Dr Al-Juhailan said viral infections are some of the most common causes for disease during the summer months. These include the influenza viruses and other respiratory viruses such as adenovirus that affect respiratory system and cause bronchitis, bronchiolitis, and pneumonia, he said.

Viral and bacterial infections transmitted through eating contaminated foods are also common. In some of these diseases, such as gastrointestinal infections causing vomiting or diarrhea, symptoms are quick to show. Other diseases, such as hepatitis A infection, symptoms are not instantly noticeable and could present from two to six weeks after returning home. Dr Al-Juhailan said travelers to areas where the disease is common, such as Africa, and South and Central America, should continue looking out for its symptoms even after returning home, including lethargy, nausea, and yellowing skin.

Dengue fever is another common travel-related disease. The virus causing the disease is not food-borne but can be transmitted to humans through mosquito bites. Dengue fever causes severe headaches, fever, and severe joint pain, in addition to a rash, which might appear with bright red skin. Destinations where people most often catch the disease include Costa Rica, Seychelles, and Singapore, said the doctor.

Another disease highlighted by Dr Al-Juhailan was dysentery, which causes severe and frequent bouts of diarrhea, feeling exhausted, fatigue, and belching accompanied by an unpleasant odor. The disease is caused by an intestinal bacterium common in Africa, Turkey and in eastern European countries and is transmitted mostly through drinking water, contaminated ice cubes, food or even by swimming in lakes or rivers. — KUNA

The post Summer heat amplifies disease risk during travel appeared first on Kuwait Times.

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